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Brewing Controversy 

Coors Clan: 
Doing It 
Their Way 



£00 Atujele0 ©imes 



Circulation: 1. 1.16.813 Daily 1.421,71 1 Smulav 



Sunday, September 18, 1988 



*/ 474 Pages Copyright 1988/The Times Mirror Company Sunday SI / A '™, hiJw, 



By BELLA STUMBO, 





The Coors brewery lies nestled in the hills 
of Golden, Colo. A workman, below, 
checks the cans as they go down the 
brewery's production line. At left is family 
patriarch Bill Coors and his wife, Phyllis. 




IRS Probes of Agents Scrutinized 

Misconduct Cases May Have Been Mishandled or Ignored 



'Star Wars' -The 
New Grand Design 

SDI Program Has Been Scaled Back 
in Face of Skeptics, Budget Squeeze 

By JOHN M. BRODER, Times Staff Writer 



By ROBERT A. ROSENBLATT, Times Staff Writer 



Times Staff Writer 

GOLDEN. Colo.— Like most of 
the men in the family. Jeff Coors, 
43. new president of the Adolph 
Coors Co., is quiet, friendly, totally 
unaffected and given to startling 
remarks. Sitting in his office on the 
brewery grounds, here is the first 
thing he said: 

"Jeez, I hope you don't try to 
paint this family as some sort of 
idealistic, above-it-all kind of fam- 
ily. There are no fairy tales in- 
volved in this family. I get really 
upset with some (media) articles 
that try to paint this family as 
somehow Cinderella- like . . . you 
know, all lovey-dovey." 

He made sardonic reference to a 
magazine photo he'd seen. "I mean, 
here you had -my mother and 
father, with all their kids and 
grandkids, with all these smiling 
faces. So, you . think: 'Oh, what a 
wonderful family!' And my father 
has a mistress all the time!" 

Now, there's a curious comment. 
Not so odd, maybe, the son drawing 



First of two parts. 



attention to the fact that Dad just 
ran out on Mom, after 48 years, for 
a younger woman, and has gone off 
to live in the lazy, hazy climes of 
Northern California wine country. 
The whole town's been burning up 
the phone wires gossiping about it 
ever since, anyway. And if there's 
one thing that instantly stands out 
about the Coors clan, it's that 
they're among the bluntest, most 
straightforward people around. 

But the Adolph Coors Co. has 
hardly been deluged with lovey- 
dovey publicity these last few 
years. To the contrary, for better 
than a decade, Coors has been the 
company Americans most love to 
hate: boycotted by organized labor, 
racial minorities, women, gays, 
students, teachers and countless 
other special-interest groups. 

New Age Predicted 

And the Coors family itself has 
been routinely denounced as racist, 
sexist, union-bashing, right-wing 
fanatics— particularly the two pa- 
triarchs, brothers William, 72, and 
Joseph, 71. In fact, when the senior 
Coorses announced a couple of 
years ago that they were turning 
day-to-day operation of the com- 
pany over to the younger genera- 
tion, critics groaned with relief. 

Optimists predicted the dawning 
of a new age at Coors. Even Lane 
Kirkland, president of the 
AFL-CIO, praised the "more posi- 
tive approach taken by [the new] 
management" during negotiations 
last summer, which resulted in an 
end to labor's 10-year-old boycott 
of Coors beer in exchange for the 
company's promise not to interfere 
Please see COORS, Page 30 



Job Market Section 
Examines Work Issues 

Job Market, a special section on 
issues in the workplace, appears as 
Part II of today's Business section. 
The Opinion and Book Review 
sections have been placed inside 
Job Market. 



It was Christmas Eve, 1986, a 
time when most school officials 
were easing into the holiday vaca- 
tion. But hidden away in a tiny 
cubicle at state Department of 
Education headquarters in Sacra- 
mento, Linda Pursell, a 19-year 
veteran of the Los Angeles Unified 
School District staff, was methodi- 
cally going through pile after pile 
of peach- and green-colored Cali- 
fornia Assessment Program test 
answer booklets. 

Only weeks before, the district 
had been alerted by state officials 
that computers grading the tests 
had kicked out the names of 18 of 
its elementary schools with unusu- 
ally high numbers of erasures on 
the multiple choice answer 
sheets— an indicator that cheating 
may have taken place. 

Pursell's job was to see if the 
erasures had been made to change 
wrong answers to right, and 



WASHINGTON— The Internal 
Revenue Service last year ordered 
Debra Corwin, an agent in the Los 
Angeles office of its inspection 
service, to pose as a worker at a 
Kansas City IRS center in an effort 
to discover whether another em- 
ployee was part of a murderous 
band of crack dealers. 

IRS officials hoped that Corwin, 
who is white, could establish a 
close rapport with the other work- 
er, who is black. So they told her to 
spend time in a Pasadena tanning 
salon and to braid her hair in 
cornrows. 

Corwin reluctantly complied, 
only to discover that the suspected 
drug dealer was on maternity 
leave. Then her bosses ordered her 
to try to buy drugs from other IRS 
workers in Kansas City. 

"The case inspector was having 
me nag IRS employees to sell me 
cocaine," Corwin said in an affida- 
vit filed with the Equal Employ- 
ment Opportunity Commission. She 
was pulled off the case, Corwin 
said, after asking to meet the U.S. 
attorney and complaining to her 
superiors of "outrageous govern - 



whether the changes were in 
handwriting other than the stu- 
dent's. 

After hours of painstaking study, 
a pattern emerged and she sudden- 
ly "felt almost physically ill." In a 



First of two parts. 



phone conversation with her boss- 
es in Los Angeles, the head of the 
district's testing unit related her 
findings: 

"They really did it," she told 
them. 

And so began a highly unusual 
investigation into who "they" 
were. 

Who changed hundreds of an- 
swers oh the tests? Teachers anx- 
ious to please principals or parents? 
Principals or administrators climb- 
ing the professional ladder and 
under pressure from the district? 



ment conduct and entrapment." 

Corwin's Kansas City caper 
could become part of one of the 
biggest scandals in years for the 
IRS. A congressional subcommittee 
is investigating cases in which 
alleged misconduct by IRS agents 
has been overlooked or mishandled 
by the agency's elite inspection 
service, which is supposed to ferret 
out wrongdoing by the nation's tax 
collectors. 

And Corwin's masquerade is one 
of the prominent cases on its 
complex agenda. IRS activities in 
Los Angeles and Laguna Niguel, 
Calif.; Chicago; Dallas; Atlanta, and 
Newark, N.J., are coming under 
intense scrutiny by a team of three 
investigators from the House Gov- 
ernment Operations subcommittee 
on commerce, consumer and mone- 
tary affairs. 

IRS Commissioner Lawrence 
Gibbs insists that the 1,200-mem- 
ber inspection division does a thor- 
ough job of policing the agency for 
internal corruption and ineptness. 
Cooperating reluctantly with the 
probe, Gibbs argues that the entire 
tax system depends on voluntary 



School aides and clerical workers 
who helped teachers "clean up" 
messy answer sheets? Proctors— 
sometimes parents or other teach- 
ers—who provided security during 
the exams? 

Under fire at last week's school 
board meeting, Supt. Leonard Brit- 
ton admitted that after investigat- 
ing what is believed to be the 
district's most widespread cheating 
scandal, only one thing seemed 
clear. "It was someone other than 
the students," Britton said. 

In all, at least 50 elementary 
schools statewide, including 24 in 
Los Angeles, have been accused of 
cheating on third- and sixth-grade 
California Assessment Program 
(CAP) tests over the last three 
years, with scores at some highly 
questionable schools invalidated. 
But the Los Angeles district's in- 
vestigation of tests taken during 
the 1985-86 academic year was 



compliance and that any public 
scandals could shake confidence in 
the system. 

The IRS says that the House 
subcommittee, headed by Rep. 
Doug Barnard Jr. (D-Ga.), has 
found nothing new and that all the 
charges of corruption and incom- 
petence have already been re- 
viewed by the agency. 

"We have acknowledged that 
allegations of misconduct have 
been received concerning various 
officials," said IRS spokeswoman 
Ellen Murphy. "These have been 
investigated through our normal 
processes and procedures." Unless 
there is an indictment or some 
other public activity, she said, the 
agency cannot discuss the result of 
its probes. 

"We think these allegations are 
very serious," Murphy added. 
"What is at stake is the integrity of 
the tax system and 120,000 employ- 
ees. We want to be sure all the facts 
will come out. We do not want the 
specter of allegations hanging over 
our employees' heads." 

This view from Washington is 
Please see IRS, Page 14 



abandoned without confronting 
any suspects. 

The district cited legal and ethi- 
cal reasons for throwing in the 
towel on the 1985-86 incidents- 
concluding that the situation was 
too murky to hold specific individ- 
uals responsible for such wide- 
spread tampering. The district said 
it will continue to investigate, with 
help from a school police officer, 
the six schools thought to have 
cheated on the 1986-87 tests and 
one suspected case in 1987-1988. 

But in the wake of the cheating 
probe, district officials have found 
themselves— not the cheaters— at 
the center of controversy. Critics 
charge that high-level administra- 
tors not only set the scene for 
cheating to occur by placing heavy 
pressure on schools to get high 
scores, but then failed to provide 
fail-safe testing security, and final- 
Please see TESTS, Page 34 



WASHINGTON— "Star Wars" is 
coming down to Earth. 

President Reagan's Strategic 
Defense Initiative, squeezed by 
budget realities, internal Pentagon 
skepticism and political opposition, 
is being restructured substantially, 
according to military and congres- 
sional officials. Instead of a vast 
array of space-based launching 
sensors, satellites and anti-missile 
rockets, the program is being re- 
drawn as a much more limited 
defensive system based largely on 
land. 

Lt. Gen. James A. Abrahamson, 
director of the SDI program and the 
Administration's chief spokesman 
for strategic defense, insisted in an 
interview last week that the pro- 
gram's goal of defending the nation 
against a Soviet nuclear strike 
remains intact. 

Vision Far More Modest 

But the Air Force officer's vision 
of the defensive shield is far more 
modest than it was even six months 
ago. In recent months, Abraham- 
son has trimmed the program's 
ambitious spending plans by bil- 
lions of dollars, postponed its pro- 
posed deployment date by at least 
two years and delayed planned 
research on many of its most 
promising advanced technology 
projects. 

With Republican presidential 
nominee George Bush questioning 
SDI's cost and his Democratic op- 
ponent, Michael S. Dukakis, chal- 
lenging its value, Abrahamson and 
other Administration "Star Wars" 
advocates appear to be positioning 
the program to survive the end of 
the Reagan era. 

By emphasizing ground-based 
elements, Abrahamson is address- 
ing concerns of congressional 
Democrats that a defensive system 
based in space would violate the 
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. 
The treaty bars testing and deploy- 
ment of space-based anti-missile 
weapons but allows a limited de- 
fensive system built around land- 
based interceptors. 

He also has drawn up new cost 
figures showing that a limited 
system, including ground and space 
elements, can be built for about 
half the earlier estimate of $120 
billion. 

Abrahamson now no longer 
speaks of a shield in space to 



MOSCOW OB-Mikhail S. Gor- 
bachev said Friday that Soviet 
forces will abandon a strategic 
naval base in Vietnam if the United 
States pulls its armed forces out of 
bases in the Philippines. 

In a key foreign policy speech, 
the Soviet leader announced that 
the Kremlin has frozen its nuclear 
weapon stocks in Soviet Asia. He 
also responded to U.S. allegations 
that a Siberian radar violates a 
superpower arms treaty by sug- 
gesting that the station be used to 
study space. 

Gorbachev made the lVfc-hour 
speech during a meeting with 
Communist Party and local gov- 
ernment workers in the city of 
Krasnoyarsk, 2,000 miles east of 
Moscow and the site of the contro- 
versial radar. The official Tass 
news agency carried a summary. 

A seven-point plan "aimed at 
strengthening security in the Asia- 
Pacific region," highlighted the 
speech, the first major address by 
Gorbachev since he returned Mon- 
day from a six- week vacation. 

It was the first time Gorbachev 
focused on relations with Asia since 
a July 28, 1986, speech at the 



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protect America against a rain of 
Soviet missiles. He describes SDI's 
mission as an effort to frustrate 
Soviet war planners by leaving 
them uncertain how many weapons 
would penetrate U.S. defenses. 

Among Abrahamson's col- 
leagues in the Defense Department 
are many officers, particularly in 
the Air Force, who believe that SDI 
will never work and that it is 
merely siphoning billions of dollars 
from more valuable projects. 

"Star Wars" has spawned "a 
curious alliance between the re- 
sisters of change in the Pentagon 
and those who resist SDI for politi- 
cal reasons outside," said retired 
Army Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, 
one of the original champions of 
space-based strategic defense. 

Abrahamson himself, while con- 
ceding that SDI will not make the 
United States invulnerable to Sovi- 
et missiles, insists that it retains its 
value nonetheless. 

"The idea that a system is useless 
unless it's perfect is ridiculous," 
Abrahamson said. What President 
Reagan requested and what the 
SDI office is trying to achieve is a 
"thoroughly reliable" defensive 
system that can intercept a certain 
percentage of Soviet weapons, he 
-said. The exact percentage, he 
noted, is classified. 

'Deterring Soviet Attack' 

"If it is thoroughly reliable, it 
will protect the people of this 
country" by deterring a Soviet 
attack, he said. "How reliable it is 
depends on how much money 
they're willing to put into it." 

Abrahamson's more humble ap- 
proach stems in part from a rigor- 
ous Pentagon budget review of the 
program. Defense Secretary Frank 
C. Carlucci told Abrahamson in 
June that Congress would approve 
at least $10 billion less for "Star 
Wars" over the next five years 
than current Pentagon projections, 
and that the years beyond that 
looked even grimmer. 

Carlucci sent the general back to 
the drawing board to see if he could 
deliver a workable system under 
those constraints. The implication 
was that if Abrahamson could not 
reduce the price tag dramatically, 
he risked letting the program be 
killed or sharply curtailed to free 
its annual budget— now about $4 
Please see SDI, Page 13 



Pacific port of Vladivostok. 

In that speech, Gorbachev called 
for a summit with China and peace 
in the region. Friday's speech reit- 
erated the call for a summit with 
Beijing and urged Japan not to 
increase its military strength. 

"Aware of the Asian and Pacific 
countries' concern, the Soviet Un- 
ion will not increase the amount of 
any nuclear weapons in the re- 
gion—it has already been practic- 
ing this for some time— and is 
calling on the United States and 
other nuclear powers not to deploy 
them additionally in the region," 
Gorbachev said, according to the 
Tass summary. 

"If the United States agrees to 
the elimination of military bases in 
the Philippines, the Soviet Union 
willlbe ready ... to give up the 
fleet's material and technical sup- 
ply station in Cam Ranh Bay." 

The Pentagon describes Cam 
Ranh Bay in Vietnam as the Sovi- 
ets' largest naval deployment base 
abroad, threatening U.S. military 
presence in the Philippines. U.S. 
officials in Bangkok said about 
7,000 Soviet personnel are sta- 
Please see BASES, Page 10 



Dozing at Controls 

Air crew fatigue is examined in 
articles on the effects of jet travel, 
with napping in the cockpit 
suggested as a solution. Page 2. 

Palisades Propositions 

To provide answers to the 
oil-drilling questions on the ballot, 
The Times dug for facts on the long 
dispute. Metro, Page 1. 



Students Are Only Ones to Escape Suspicion in Inquiry 

Pressure for High Scores Blamed in CAP Test Cheating 

By CAROL MCGRAW and TRACY WOOD, T-tmes Staff Writers 



INSIDE TODAY'S TIMES 



Soviets Vow to Quit Vietnam 
if U.S. Leaves Philippines 



Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 



30 Part 1 / Sunday, September 18, 1988 



flosAwgeteg Sttnee 



COORS: Controversy Always Brewing for Fiercely Independent Family 



Continued from Page 1 

with union organizing at the brew- 
ery. 

But never mind that for a min- 
ute. Jeff Coors wasn't finished with 
his dad (Joe): Joe Sr. is an adulter- 
er and, therefore, a sinner, along 
with homosexuals, gluttons, blas- 
phemers, murderers, liars and a 
whole bunch of others. All five of 
Joe Coors' sons, inspired by their 
mother, Holly. 67, are self-de- 
scribed, "born-again" Christian 
fundamentalists. Hard core. 

The oldest son, Joe Jr.. 45, for 
instance, even lists "Biblical 
Prophecy" as a hobby, along with 
golf, on his company resume, and 
the whole family is awaiting Arma- 
geddon, which Joe Jr. believes will 
occur around the year 2,000. 

Meantime, they just hope Joe Sr. 
can clean up his act in time. "I 
really love the guy, he's a neat 
person," said Jeff Coors. "But there 
are certain areas in your life that 
you struggle with, you know? That 
you don't know how to handle, so 
you do crazy things. We all do. But 
we're all praying for him. Regular- 
ly" 

But enough small talk. 

As president of Adolph Coors 
Co., Jeff Coors— the highest paid of 
the Coors sons at $350,000 per 
year— has larger concerns these 
days: Namely, after more than a 
decade of good riddance, organized 
labor is back. Union activists are 
now prowling about his property, 
lurking in every town cafe and bar, 
trying to convince Coors employ- 
ees—the only non-unionized 
brewery workers in the nation— 
that they need a union. 

Not much can send a member of 
the Coors family in faster search of 




Joe Coors Sr. 

the Excedrin than the notion of 
some pushy bunch of union bosses 
trying to tell them how to run their 
business. 

In the first place, ever since 
Adolph Coors, a young Prussian 
immigrant, then 26, founded his 
modest little brewery here on the 
banks of Clear Creek in 1873, Coors 
has been unique among breweries 
for its determined self-reliance. It 
has always either owned or con- 
trolled almost every aspect of the 
beer-making process, from barley 
farms to hops and malt; it brews all 
its beer here and only recently 
opened a second facility in Shenan- 
doah, Va., for bottling only, and 
Coors is nearly legendary for its 
reluctance to borrow money. It 



only went public in 1975— and then 
sold only about 15% of its stock to 
outside shareholders, on a non- 
voting basis. 

Also, not since Prohibition has 
Coors put all its eggs in one basket. 
It is instead widely diversified, with 
subsidiaries engaged in everything 
from the production of ceramics to 
/ military technology systems. 

And so it was truly a match made 
in hell when, who did the APL-CIO 
dispatch to conquer this God-fear- 
ing, archconservative dynasty but 
that roughest, toughest, most noto- 
rious, federally investigated union 
of them all, the International 
Brotherhood of Teamsters. 

Last summer's peace treaty with 
the APL-CIO notwithstanding, 
Coors and the Teamsters clashed 
like a pair of alley cats from the 
first minute. At issue is whether 
the Teamsters should be allowed to 
call for a union vote only among 
about 1,700 brewery workers, or, as 
Coors insists, include another 2,000 
or so (notably less union-minded) 
container workers as well. The 
dispute is now before the National 
Labor Relations Board— with both 
sides vowing not to bend an inch, 
short of a federal order. 

And if this new union battle 
opens old wounds, stirring up all 
those leftists who have hardly even 
begun to forgive Coors for its past 
sins, real or imagined, Coors' basic 
position is, the hell with it. 

"What else should we do?" Jeff 
Coors demands. "Just give 'em the 
keys to the place? Is that what you 
do? It's just like inviting the Rus- 
sians in to take over America." 



For years, most of Coors' trou- 




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blcs have been laid at the feet of 
Bill and Joe Coors. 

Of the two, Joe Coors has always 
been, hands down, the most con- 
troversial. A longtime personal 
friend of Ronald Reagan's, Coors 
has been annoying the daylights 
out of liberals ever since the 1960s 
when, as a University of Colorado 
regent, he and his pal, former 
California Sen. S. I. Hayakawa, did 
everything they could to drive the 
Students for a Democratic Society 
off the CU campus. 

Over the years, he's also contrib- 
uted to almost every right-wing 
cause of any consequence, from the 
John Birch Society to the Heritage 
Foundation, to wars against the 
Equal Rights Amendment and the 
Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Most re- 
cently he wound up center stage at 
the Iran-Contra hearings, after 
personally donating a $65,000 air- 



plane to the Nicaraguan "freedom 
fighters." 

However, it was Bill Coors— al- 
ways more the family businessman 
and a relative political moderate 
compared to his brother— who let 
fly with the single costliest careless 
remark ever to befall the company, 
when, in a 1984 speech to black 
Denver businessmen, he comment- 
ed that slave traders had done 
them all a favor by dragging their 
ancestors to this great country in 
chains. Likewise, Coors had added, 
descendants of Mexican "wet- 
backs" should also give thanks that 
they got here, even if they had to 
swim the Rio Grande. 

It cost Coors around $750 million 
in good-faith, five-year social cov- 
enants with enraged black and 
Latino leaders to dig out of that 
one. 

But it was the labor boycott, 



begun in 1977, that hurt most. 
Amid one of the most bitter strikes 
of recent times, Coors workers (or 
hired scabs, depending on whom 
you listen to) voted the union out, 
after 43 years. Especially contro- 
versial was a polygraph test Coors 
administered to all prospective em- 
ployees, probing into everything 
from weekend drug habits and 
marital infidelities to homosexual 
activities. And, for all its national 
notoriety, Coors stubbornly clung 
to that test until only two years 
ago. 

But here at home, in Golden, in 
these pretty, rolling Rocky Moun- 
tain foothills 20 miles from down- 
town Denver where the Coors 
family has lived for five genera- 
tions, none of it ever seriously 
mattered. Not then. Not now. 

Golden is, in fact, an almost 
Please see COORS, Page 31 



ADDITIONAL AUCTIONS 
AT THESE LOCATIONS: 



I SATURDAY, Sept. 17th I 
STARTING AT 1 P.M. 1 



PARK INN INTERNATIONAL 



1150 UNIVERSITY AVE. 
RIVERSIDE, CA 

(Taka 60 FWY. — Exit University) 




STATE 

AUCTION 
Liquidators' 



SUNDAY, Sept. 18th 
STARTING AT 1 P.M. 



TORRANCE HOLIDAY INN 



21333 HAWTHORNE BLVD. 



J0RRANJI 



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Member of California Auctioneer's Commission 'C1933 



ESTATE AUCTION 



I COLLECTORS, INVESTORS, DEALEHS WELCOME 

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State Auction Liquidators 

<«im«ii: REUVEN TUHOBINER, c* Lie aim 
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Hoa Anflelea States 



Sunday, September 18, 1988/ Part I 



31 



COORS: Family Insists on Doing Things Its Own Way 



Continued from Page 30 

perfect mirror reflection of the 
Coors clan itself. It is utterly 
without pretense, unlike some 
towns surrounding Denver. No 
phony Wild West saloons here, 
with their swinging doors and 
sawdust floors, nor any grand old 
Gold Rush hotel in the center of 
town, historically authentic or 
make-believe, to romance tourists 
with jumbled visions of Buffalo Bill, 
Wyatt and Billy. Kitty and Matt or 
Baby Doe. 

Instead, Golden, the county seat, 
remains a quiet, unvarnished little 
community, of the rapidly vanish- 
ing kind, with about 15,000 over- 
whelmingly white, mostly Repub- 
lican, generally middle-income and 
usually friendly residents who still 
fully expect that, if you absent- 
mindedly leave your keys in the 
ignition while you run into Foss' 
General Store, then, by damn, that 
car better be there when you get 
back. 

And despite the fact that the- 
Coors plant— the largest single 
brewing facility in the world (Kirin 
in Japan is second)— now runs in 
an unsightly, five-mile-long gray 
concrete stretch of silos and 
smokestacks down Clear Creek 
canyon, this is no company town. 
Only about 700 of Coors' 10,000 
employees live here and, although 
about 350,000 tourists visit the 
brewery annually, nobody's get- 
ting rich off them, either; they take 
their tour and go back to Denver. 

Gumption Admired 

Not that Golden isn't pleased to 
be the home of Adolph Coors. It is. 
Residents have never had much 
sympathy for Coors' political crit- 
ics. Plus, they admire gumption— 
and, as some grinning locals love to 
remind, for all the boycotts and 
name-calling, the Coors family 
sure got the last laugh, didn't they? 
Today, Coors is the fourth -largest 
national brewery, and, by all relia- 
ble accounts, old Joe and Bill last 
year moved beyond the ranks of 
mere multimillionaires to become 
billionaires. 

But, all else aside, Golden citi- 
zens seem to genuinely like their 
resident billionaires. According to 
locals, members of the Coors clan, 
now more than three dozen of them 
scattered throughout these hills— 
. including 23 fifth-generation niec- 
es and nephews— don't act a bit 
different now than they did before 
they became one of the richest 
families on Earth. 

They don't live in mansions; 
their homes are nice but far from 
opulent— one son even lives in a 
middle-income housing tract. And 
they don't jet off to European villas 
on weekends; they own vacation 
homes in Aspen. They still buy 
their razor blades down at Foss' 
and their sirloins at Safeway. 

The wives do their own cooking, 
pick up their kids at the public 
swimming pool along with the 
other town women and none are 
raving glamour queens forever 
dressed to kill. The sweet-faced, 
"born-again" family, matriarch, 
Holly, is renowned for her volun- 
teer hospital work and her perpet- 
ual readiness to help any poor soul 
in need to find Jesus Christ. 

As for the Coors men, they look 
more like John Deere tractor sales- 
men than tycoons: all of them tall, 
thin and fair with a near- legendary 
distaste for jackets and ties; they're 
almost always dressed in the sort of 
plain, open-collared shirts and 
cheap chino pants that might have 
come from J.C. Penney. Especially 
old Bill and Joe, which is what 
everybody in town calls them. 

True, the Coorses do have a 
family tradition of sending their 
children to prep schools (Exeter, 
followed, usually, by Cornell Uni- 
versity, where, in another family 
tradition laid down by Adolph Sr., 
every male is expected to get a 
degree in engineering.) But as 
every middle-aged parent seems to 
remember, until they went away to 
school, the Coors kids ran around 
town with the rest of the crowd— 
and some of them came back home 
to marry local girls. 

And, not least, Golden residents 
remember all the personal trage- 
dies they've shared with the Coors 
family, sometimes on a downtown 
park bench or in church or just 
having morning coffee in the cor- 
ner cafe. 

They remember: 

The misery Bill Coors endured 
when it became clear, more than 
three decades ago now, that his 



first wife was an alcoholic; then, 
the awful suicide of his oldest 
daughter five years ago, when she 
leaped to her death from a New 
York City high-rise, leaving a 
husband and babies behind. 

They remember the whole 
town's suspense when Adolph 
Coors III. brother of Bill and Joe, 
was kidnaped and murdered, in a 
yearlong ordeal of uncertainty in 
1961. 

And. going way back, everybody 
still speculates about whether it 
was really an accident, when the 
senior Adolph fell to his death from 
a Florida high-rise in 1929, at age 



82, or another Great Depression 
suicide. 

Locals recall the lesser dramas 
loo— how furious Joe Coors was, 
for instance, when, first, his oldest 
son Joe Jr., violated a cardinal 
family rule 25 years ago (a rule 
originally decreed by Adolph Jr.) 
by running off to get married 
before he'd finished college, and, 
then, just a few years later, when 
his fourth son, Grover, now 38, 
became a temporary hippie, hiding 
out in California with his LSD, long 
hair and, even destroying his draft 
card. 

In both cases, locals remember, 



Joe's answer was pure and simple: 
he cut both sons off without a cent 
until they came to their senses. 
(Grover saw the light faster; it took 
Joe Jr. 10 years to return to the 
family fold— and, by then, he actu- 
ally had to beg.) 

The obvious point being— this is 
one tough family with a long 
tradition of doing things their way, 
and if they're unrelenting when it 
comes to outsiders, they're equally 
implacable when it comes to their 
own. 

"I wouldn't call them stubborn— 
I'd call them principled. The Coors 
family has always been willing to 



fight for what they believe in. 1 
think most people here admire 
that," says Golden Mayor Marvin 
Kay, who is also football coach at 
Colorado School of Mines, a presti- 
gious little engineering university 
here. 

And so nobody around Golden 
seems the least bit surprised that 
Coors is now heading for yet 
another showdown with organized 
labor. * 

Besides, most folks are a whole 
lot more interested in Joe Sr.'s 
latest escapade, wondering, amid 
grins and giggles, just who this 
mystery woman could be, and if old 
Joe has now maybe even taken to 
bean sprouts, white wine, tanning 
parlors and plastic surgeons, like 
all those other crazy Californians 



do. 

□ 

Lunch was about to be served 
inside the official Coors family 
mansion, on the brewery grounds. 
A pretty, while, 22-room Queen 
Anne house built by Adolph Sr. 
over a century ago, it hasn't been 
occupied for decades, standing now 
mainly as a museum to Coors 
family history, still fully furnished, 
just as the old man left it. 

The hosts were Adolph's grand- 
sons, William Coors, 72, chairman 
of the board; his brother Joseph, 71 , 
vice chairman, and Bill's wife, 
Phyllis, 58. 

Bill Coors was initially almost 
tongue-tied by shyness, or ner- 
Please see COORS, Page 32 




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Doo Angeles Slimes 



Sunday, September 18, 1988/ Part I 33 



COORS: Controversy Surrounds Old Brewing Family 



Continued from Page 32 

would never have even dreamed of 
foreclosing on poor Tom Joad. 

But a brave, stubborn, old ty- 
coon, make no mistake about that, 
because next Bill Coors was resur- 
recting his incendiary 1984 "slave 
trader" speech. 

It still annoys the hell out of him. 
Not just because of the money— 
both the Good Lord and Fortune 
Magazine know Coors could afford 
that. Instead, fumed Coors. it was 
"the way the media "took my 
remarks out of context. . .and just 
blew me out of the water"— and, 
also, "the way the so-called black 
and Hispanic leaders came down on 
me! My God! I've never seen any- 
thing like it! 

"What i was trying to point out 
was, people take this free society of 
ours for granted, and I tell you . . . 
this is one of the last places in the 
world where anyone can go into 
business, regardless of what their 
background is. And so, I said, 'This 
is a great country, and regardless of 
how we got here, we all ought to be 
glad we're here.' I said: 'There's no 
reason for a Hispanic to be 
ashamed that his father or his 
grandfather was a wetback . . ."' 
(Coors also called his grandfather, 
Adolph, an immigrant who stowed 
away on a boat from Hamburg, 
Germany, a "wetback.") 

"And then, I extended it to the 
blacks. I said: 'You ought to be so 
delighted you're here . . : your 
ancestors for the most part were 
dragged over here in chains . . . 
none of us can tolerate the concept 
of slavery, but that act in itself got 
you here, so they did you a favor!' " 

What's more, declared Coors: 
"It's absolutely true, if you will look 
at it in the true sense! I mean, what 
caused [immigrants] to come here: 
economic freedom! Economic op- 
portunity that [they) didn't have in 
[their] own land!" 

And, even if blacks didn't origi- 
nally get here of their own volition, 
they've still cashed in on the same 
boundless opportunity: "I mean, 
Alex Haley and his 'Roots' not- 
withstanding," Coors said with a 
dry smile, "if you go back to these 
idyllic situations that were sup- 
posed to exist in Africa, and you 



'I know my political 
activities have brought, 
uh, negatives to the 
brewery, so I'm trying 
to keep a low profile, 
and not say some of the 
things I otherwise 
might ... but it's hard.' 

Jos Coors Sr. 



won't find 'em. I mean, I just don't 
see Jesse Jackson, or any of these 
other blacks, making any mass 
exodus to back to Africa, do you?" 

And then it was Joe Coors' turn. 

Within five minutes of opening 
his mouth, he had assailed Sen. 
Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) as 
"a common murderer," taken a few 
healthy swipes at House Speaker 
Jim Wright and Frank Sinatra, 
then moved on to American Indi- 
ans. 

More specifically, Coors was an- 
noyed at the flak his friend Reagan 
was taking for his remark in Mos- 
cow earlier this year that perhaps 
the white man had done Native 
Americans a real disservice by 
"humoring them" in their desire to 
retain their "primitive life style" on 
U.S. reservations. 

"He was absolutely right! Indi- 
ans chose to stay on the reserva- 
tions, versus becoming Americans! 
And now they're upset that the 
government didn't give them more 
money! But they were given a 
choice! They could've come into 
any community in America, like 
the Mexicans did, and become a 
part of it. But they couldn't cope 
with it. . . ." 

Bill Coors tried to change the 
subject. Not that he necessarily 
disagrees with his brother on the 
finer points of American Indian 
history— he doesn't. But he has a 
decidedly better ear for balance. 

It was a disgrace, Bill Coors 
thought, the way the United States 
government had treated American 
Indians. All those broken treaties, 
the influx of the white man's 
diseases, and the "incredible cul- 
ture, and the talent, the creativity 
of those young Indian kids, it just 
makes chills go up and down your 
spine to see it." 

(Coors, not incidentally, is 
spending a small fortune on drug 
and alcohol rehabilitation pro- 
grams on the reservations. But he 
barely mentioned that. As it would 
turn out, that's typical. If the 
descendants of Adolph Coors spend 
a whole lot of time and money 
lately trying to appease various 
displeased ethic minorities, as well 
as women and gays, they are by 
nature not the kind of people to 
personally boast about their good 
deeds. A small army of public 
relations officials does it for them. ) 

After dessert, Joe Coors had to 
run to catch a plane back to 
California where, he said with a 
cryptic little smile: "I'm enjoying 
life for a change." 

On the way to the door, however, 
he had more to say on the high cost 
of doing business in this country 



today: 

"I know my political activities 
have brought, uh, negatives to the 
brewery, so I'm trying to keep a 
low profile, and not say some of the 
things I otherwise might . . . but 
it's hard." 

Worse, the stigma has hung to 
him so firmly it's ruined any hopes 
he ever had of becoming not just a 
brewer but a public servant. Years 
ago, his nomination by both Presi- 
dents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald 
R. Ford to sit on the Public Broad- 
casting Corp. board was killed in a 
Senate committee after furious de- 
bate over his right-wing politics. 



But even more personally hurt- 
ful, he says, was his failure to get 
former Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese 
Ill's previous job as White House 
counselor to Ronald Reagan in 
1984. Coors was high on the list of 
candidates being considered. 

Blames Mrs. Reagan 

But somebody else got the job, 
and Joe Coors blames it on Reagan 
for paying too much attention to 
Mrs. Reagan. As Coors sees it, 
Nancy Reagan has done her hus- 
band more damage than good these 
last eight years, mainly through 
her choice of such confidants as 



now-alienated former White 
House deputy chief of staff Michael 
K. Deaver. 

And so, here is another surprise 
about the Coors clan, all longtime 
Reaganitcs and a driving force 
behind Western-state Republican 
politics for the last 25 years: 

Today, with the exception of 
Holly Coors, none of them has a 
single good word to say about 
Nancy Reagan, and, if they all 
applaud the President's handling of 
the economy, the whole family is 
openly disenchanted with their 
man. They think he's basically 
been a lousy manager— you just 



don't run a company the way 
Reagan has run the White House, 
surrounded by aides the Coors 
brothers wouldn't even trust as 
janitors in their brewery. 

(As for George Bush, forget it. 
The Coorscs, who enthusiastically 
headed the Colorado Reagan-Bush 
election campaigns in both 1980 
and '84, are so unimpressed with 
Bush that, for the first time in 
memory, not a single family mem- 
ber even bothered to attend the 
Republican National Convention 
this year as a delegate. ) 

"My criticism of Reagan is this, 
and it goes back to his days as 
governor," says Joe Coors: "He's 
never wanted to be involved in 
personnel problems, and he's way 
too influenced by Nancy. And she's 



worked against his best interests, 
because she would only listen to 
Deaver . . . and he couldn't stand 
strong people around him." 

Anyway, Coors shrugged with a 
crooked little grin, that's why 
"there are no politicians in our 
family— except, of course for [his 
estranged wife] Holly. Reagan ap- 
pointed her Ambassador of the 
Americas, you know." 

That is, as Coors well knows, 
strictly a roving, essentially cere- 
monial post. But he sounded proud 
of it anyway. "She's a great lady, a 
real credit to our country," he 
remarked of his wife, with greatest 
respect, as he hastened to the door, 
wearing a sheepish face. 

Next: Holly and the kids. 



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